Poulsbo adjusts public records fees, raises property tax levy | Updated

Editor’s note: This version corrects the amount of the 2018 property tax levy in the fifth paragraph. The adjusted levy is lower than originally reported because of updated assessed values — including new construction — from the county assessor.

POULSBO — You will pay a little more for electronic copies of public records, but less for paper copies, in 2018. And your property taxes will go up 2 percent to help pay for maintenance of and improvements to parks and streets.

The Poulsbo City Council voted unanimously Nov. 1 to adjust public records fees and increase the property tax levy. The vote was one of the final steps leading to approval of the revised 2017-18 budget. Public hearings are scheduled on Nov. 8 and 15. Final review is scheduled for Dec. 6, with budget approval following on Dec. 20.

All told, the general fund budget is projected to be $12.6 million in 2018, up from $12 million in 2017. Other funds set aside for debt payments, capital projects and utilities bring the city’s total expenditures to $36.5 million, down from $44 million in 2017.

The City Council adjusted public records fees in keeping with changes adopted by the Legislature. The council is adding fees for electronic delivery of public records files, up to 10 cents per gigabyte. Meanwhile, other fees will be reduced: Scanned copies of public records will cost 10 cents per scanned copy; that fee was formerly 14 to 49 cents. Black and white copies of maps will now cost $1.50 instead of $2.

The property tax levy will be $1.52 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. For a home valued at $300,000, that comes out to $456.58, down from $473.94 in 2017. Throughout the city, the property tax increase will generate $2.5 million, up from $2,350,680.

Cities are allowed by state law to raise property taxes 1 percent a year; however, they can raise it retroactively for previous years when they didn’t increase it. The practice of not raising property taxes one year is commonly referred to as “banking” it.

“Last year, we did not take our 1 percent. We banked it,” Mayor Becky Erickson said. “So, in 2018, we will take what we didn’t take last year and then the 1 percent in addition to that, reminding folks that we cut utility taxes in ‘16 and ‘17 as well. What we’re trying to do is basically match our revenues and our expenditures.”

According to the budget, in 2018 some $99,000 in property tax revenue will go to the Street Reserves Fund for capital street projects; $201,000 to the Park Reserve Fund for capital park projects; $300,000 to Street Reserves Fund for neighborhood street restoration projects; and $1.2 million to the City Street Fund for street maintenance.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com.

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